4 Characteristics of Being in the Zone
You know you are in the zone when you exhibit the following characteristics: You have total focus. Your performance is effortless. You are in synch within yourself, and you display total dominance in whatever you are pursuing. Let us take a brief look at these four characteristics.
Being in the zone means having total focus. In other words, you have absolute concentration and single-mindedness of purpose to the point that you are oblivious to your immediate environment. Nothing else matters to you but the matter at hand. Let me give you two examples: In my younger years-my college years-I used to walk down the street reading a book. I was so caught up with what I was reading that I would be unaware that I had stepped off the sidewalk into the street. Lucky for me, I stopped doing that or I would not be around to tell you this story. The other example is that of Socrates, the wisest man of his time. The story is told that he would be walking with friends having a good-natured conversation when suddenly he would stop and ponder some of the give-and-take that he and his friends were discussing. He would stand there thinking there in one spot unmindful that his friends had long gone off and left him. Mind you, he would stand there in that same spot all night long until dawn the next morning. Now that is what I call total self-absorption, which, again, is one of the traits of being in the zone.
Being in the zone also means that your performance becomes effortless. In other words, you don't try to force your way through something. On the contrary, you relax and let the game come to you and not you to the game. That means that you perform without taxing yourself mentally, physically, or psychologically. On the mental level, your mind is not a busy body that is overly critical or that is burdened with minute detail. Nor on the physical level are you trying too hard to do that which you are engaged in, for instance, trying very hard to hit a home run, trying to hard to go for the knockout, or working too hard to solve a problem that you just cannot resolve at the moment. Last, on the psychological level, you are not so frustrated with yourself that tension and poor performance can be your only results. To the opposed: When you are in the zone, you are in a state of relaxation from which things come about effortlessly, and hence, easily. The harder you try, the less your results. The less you try, the greater your results. A case in point: When I am forcing myself-through pure will power-to run faster, it comes with a lot of effort and I tire rather quickly. On the other hand, when I am running in the zone, it is like I am on cloud nine, running very fast, yet not feeling the least bit of exertion or tiredness.
Being in the zone means too that you are in synch with yourself: All of your parts are working together like one perfect unit or well oiled machine-your breathing, your legs, your arms, and your psychology. Your performance is optimal. Your timing (tempo) is perfect and harmonious. You are neither too slow nor too fast. Your timing is just right so that you don't have to exert effort to perform. You are in rhythm with yourself. You are in perfect alignment with the flow of energy within you. An example of that-and I again instance a case of my running-is when my entire body is like one team on the same page. All parts of my body are working together in perfect harmony like a clock.
Finally, being in the zone means that you are in a state of dominance. That is to say that the odds are in your favor. On that particular day, at that particular moment, you are both unbeatable and unstoppable! Often you will hear a sports announcer say of an athlete that "he is going on a tear" or that "he is unconscious". When that happens, things come easily and amazing things happen. Instances of that are basketball players who just cannot miss the basket. Everything is going their way. They can't be prevented from going to the hole.
In this article, I laid out for you four of the characteristics of being in the zone. Again, they are total concentration, effortlessness, harmony, and total dominance.